Call for National Unity at Launch of One Bahamas Foundation

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NASSAU, The Bahamas – Governor-General of The Bahamas His Excellency Arthur D. Hanna speaks during the One Bahamas Foundation Launch ceremony, Friday, November 30, 2007, in the Lower Gardens of Government House. (Photo/Tim Aylen)

By: Lindsay Thompson

NASSAU, Bahamas – Bahamians were urged to live in harmony as Governor General His Excellency Arthur Hanna officially launched the One Bahamas Foundation, during a ceremony at Government House on Friday, November 30, 2007.

The idea of such a movement came to fruition in 1992, with the launch of the One Bahamas Celebrations, an avenue to mobilize Bahamians in love, respect and unity across the entire country.

The message was further emphasized in the words of Prime Minister the Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham, Deputy Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Cynthia Pratt, and directors of the One Bahamas Foundation.

“The concept has been formalised into a foundation and I congratulate you on the occasion of its launching today,” The Governor General said.

He said that The Bahamas has been fortunate to have a proud and noble history of peaceful struggle for change and development in its political and social order.

“Other countries have not been so fortunate. All we have to do is to look around the world even now to see the unrest, strife, even bloodshed, which can accompany such changes. Our good fortune was not accidental. It was not magical,” the Governor-General said.

He explained that it happened because the leadership and the people of the country decided that that was the way to do it, so that long-term stability and peace would follow.

“This great legacy that has been handed down to the present and future generations of Bahamians cannot be taken for granted,” the Governor-General said. “It will take the same commitment, the same passion – and sometimes sacrifices also – to make sure that the legacy is preserved and protected.”

He noted that what is being proposed about the One Bahamas Foundation is indeed a noble and worthy enterprise.

The Governor-General said however, that it is important that Bahamians not just talk about One Bahamas, but take continuous, concrete steps to celebrate and promote unity.

“The Bahamian people are indeed what the new world is all about. We have come from all over – from Africa, from Europe and from Asia,” he said. “We are of different races and ethnic origins; we are of different religious denominations and political persuasions.

“But we have all come together to build a great little nation in these wonderful islands that we so proudly call home.”

His Excellency congratulated the founders of the One Bahamas for their foresight and dedication to the concept and he wished them success in their efforts.

The One Bahamas message was also highlighted in poetry read by Algernon Allen, former Cabinet Minister, credited for initiating the One Bahamas concept; musical selection by St Anne’s School choir; a rendition of the One Bahamas song by Master Osano Neely and music by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Band.

Former Governor-General and Cabinet Minster Sir Orville Turnquest is chairman of the One Bahamas Foundation.